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The heathy woodland area adjacent to the remnant pine plantation on Portreath Road is a great area to explore with a high level of flora biodiversity.

As we do not have a plant list for this site we decided to make a start with an early winter list of observations.

Group searching

Group in heathy woodland

It is certainly a site that needs constant monitoring as the seasons bring many different species into flower. As not much is flowering at the present time we were challenged to identify species from their leaves and plant structure. We managed a list of 58 species and felt proud of our efforts. There are a few that we need to keep our eyes on.

Forest Wire-grass

Was this the start of Forest Wire-grass Tetrarhena juncea?

There is one species that we are calling the mystery plant – leaves looked familiar but we were unable to recognise buds? or fruit? Called for help from Geoff Carr and were told they were galls on Wahlenbergia multicaulis Tufted Bluebell!

Tufted Bluebell with galls

Mystery plant

Mosquito Orchids were flowering well and looked great among the leaf litter and with the glistening sundews that had obviously managed to trap many small insects.

Mosquitos and Sundews

Mosquitos and sundews

Many orchid leaves were starting to appear – Spider Orchids, Sun Orchids, Waxlips, Hare Orchids, Tall Greenhoods, and carpets of Nodding Greenhood rosettes (We did see 2 or 3 in flower).

Hare Orchid leaf

Hare Orchid leaf with false bud in the apex of the leaf

There was also some fungi that we didn’t attempt to identify.This purplish specimen was admired by the group

Grey fungus

and a clump of brown fungi also captured out attention.

Brown fungus

On our way to Portreath Rd we had had a short stop on the corner of Gum Flat and Forest Road where the group admired Banded Greenhoods that have been flowering there now for a number of weeks but were still in good condition.

Examining Banded GreenhoodsExamining Banded Greenhoods

Ovaries are swollen so pollination has occurred and hopefully some new plants will be present next year.

Banded Greenhood

Banded Greenhood detailBanded Greenhood detail

This photo of the Banded Greenhood shows the large lateral sepals with the hinged labellum triggered by our movement of the flower – if an insect had landed on it the insect would have been trapped inside the hood and against the column. It must then crawl up past the stigma and pollinia thus helping the pollination process. (Well done to the photographer!)

Marg MacDonald
Photos Gail Slykhuis